I spent last week making final plans for our homeschool year, our most “plugged in” year yet. I think that most of us with school-aged children must be facing something similar, and I am very grateful for our online schooling options. My middle school and high school kids will all be taking online classes (I can tell you more about that in my next post if you’d like.) However, it has always been my goal to minimize screen time, and I can’t pretend that screen time in recent months at our house has been minimal. So much has gotten in the way of my ideals this year. This pandemic and the financial consequences of it that are requiring us to work more, extreme weather making outdoor play unpleasant-too brutally hot and dry for weeks followed by weeks of too much rain and nasty humidity, and being just plain stressed, overwhelmed, and discouraged at the state of everything. My goal heading into this fall is to be more intentional when I can, to spend more time planning ahead for unplugged activities for my younger kids (while structuring screen time with my older kids so that they don’t sit looking at one all the time!) but also to give myself grace when things don’t go as planned. Mom’s mental health has to be a priority as well. Please don’t forget to take care of yourself, even if that means letting your little guys watch shows in the afternoon while you read a book or catch up on work.
Over the years, whenever I have fallen into allowing more screen time than I’d like, which in my experience leads to kids not knowing what to do with themselves other than more of the same, I have sat down to make a list of activities. Some of them only require me to set out the materials, and some require me to be a part of them. Maybe two lists would be good? Activities with mom, and activities without. I have collected many books full of ideas over the nearly twenty years I’ve been parenting. I first started making these lists when my oldest son was a baby who didn’t sleep and I didn’t know what to do with him. I was twenty-two when he was born and the days were long.
When my friend, Rachel Wolf, started working on The Unplugged Family Activity Book, she had no idea how timely it would be. So many of us are looking for fresh ideas right now, or even new takes on familiar ones to help us get through these months. Rachel sent me a copy a few weeks ago and it’s a beautiful, inspiring book. The activities are divided seasonally and I always love it when a book is organized that way. When I pull out my stack of activity books to work on my lists in the coming weeks, hers will be at the top. Right now, we have loads of marigolds blooming and Rachel’s summer flower bunting project was a perfect afternoon activity for Mabel. She loved carefully threading the flowers, and I love that I will be able to use the dried marigolds in my dyepots this winter.
Rachel would like to give one of you a copy of her book as well! For your chance to win, leave a comment on this post. I will close comments and randomly select a winner on Friday.
The winner is Bethany, who commented, “I would love a copy of this book! I would also love to know what your own activity list includes if you ever were up for writing a post about that. :)”
I’ve emailed you, Bethany, and will hopefully write that post sometime soon!